When one of the icons lit up on her dashboard, She was almost certain it meant a low tire. However, to be absolutely certain and before She filled it herself, she stopped at the nearest gas station and explained her plight to the service manager.
“Yup,” he said, opening her door and peering in, “That’s a tire, all right. You come around here, and we’ll take care of it for you.”
Bypassing the air pump in the front, he directed her to the back, the place where they take care of all the serious stuff, and summoned a mechanic.
“Take care of this lady,” he said.
The mechanic left the hoist and the car on which he had been working. Taking up the nearby air hose, he filled her tire. Then he put his hand under the fender and held up a finger coated with grease.
“Looks like a leaky strut,” he said.
“A strut?” She asked.
The service manager stepped in. “Struts hold up the car. Why, ma’am, if you’re not careful and those go bad, the whole car may collapse.” He waited for his words to sink in. They did, and her spirits sank with every syllable.
Still, She said nothing.
“Could be bad, miiiighty bad.” He let out a deep sigh as though imagining the scene being played out before him.
“How much?” She asked.
“Three hundred. But that’s just for the right side. You’d have to get one for the other side as well.”
She did some mental arithmetic.
“‘Course you’d also need two for the back as well.”
“That’s twelve hundred dollars.” She starting wishing she had stayed in bed that morning.
“We wouldn’t charge you for the wheel alignment.”
She remained silent; she saw dollar signs floating straight into the wild blue yonder.
“And there just might be a puncture in that tire,” said the mechanic.
“Really?” She asked.
“Might be. Just might be. Still . . .”
That’s when the needle in her suspicion meter went into the red zone. Little old ladies who don’t know how to put air in their tires apparently need all the help others can heap upon them. She waited, wondering whether they were going to recommend new windshield wipers, floor mats, dent removal and a superwash. But nothing else was forthcoming.
“Thank you for your help,” She said. “I’m going to have to think about it.”
She considered getting other opinions from the dealer or from another garage. However, now in a super-suspicious mode, She knew, absolutely positively knew, if she went in and asked, “Do I need new struts?” the answer would be, “Do you ever! And a starter fan. And a radio antenna. They’re all on special.”
Sometimes doing nothing is doing something. She’s doing nothing.
However, She scans the dashboard all the time. If a tire gets low, She will fill it herself. If/when She’s at a red light and the car collapses, she’ll call Triple A and state with certainty, “Rush over now with a bunch of struts. That’s all we’re going to need.”